Every year, the healthcare industry loses millions of dollars to malpractice claims, injury claims, worker compensation claims, among other things. This is why the value of healthcare risk managers in minimizing medical errors, and other adverse events, can never be understated.
Along with having a robust knowledge of the procedures and policies applicable to them, there are still a few other things that every healthcare risk managers should know to help achieve their organizational goals. Some of these are briefly discussed below.
Risks are more of potential threats, rather than actual dangers and hazards. The success of healthcare risk management will largely depend on the proactive management of risks which involves creative thinking and identification of what may go wrong, rather than reactive safety management after an actual risk has occurred.
The healthcare sector is highly dynamic. Therefore, adopting a reactive approach to risk management will greatly limit flexibility which is needed to properly adapt to occasional changes and challenges.
Healthcare risk managers should understand that patient safety is everyone’s responsibility. While risk managers have to be at the forefront of risk identification, they can’t identify every risk across the entire organization. There is, therefore, a need to establish a culture where everyone from healthcare providers to staff members, leaders, as well as patients and their families are encouraged to report observed risks.
Adhering to standard practices across the organization is very important to maintain a low-risk work hospital environment. Healthcare risk managers have to find a way to hardwire key risk identification practices into the organizational workflow by educating healthcare providers, staff, and everyone involved. They should also consider establishing redundancies to evaluate adherence and ensure consistency.
In the health sector and elsewhere, all risks are not the same. Some risks could be more critical than others and may pose huge risks or irreparable damage to the organization. Others could be minor, less critical, or even have a lower probability than others. Proper understanding and evaluation of all of these classes of risks will help healthcare risk managers in categorizing and prioritizing applicable risks.
As we mentioned earlier, the healthcare sector is very dynamic with new risks emerging regularly. Healthcare risk managers must understand this and their creative thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities must be topnotch to help the organization identify risks and adapt to changes. This is more reason why healthcare risk management should be more proactive rather than reactive.
A risk manager brings so much value to the table. Aside from helping the organization avoid risks, the success of health care managers could also have a huge impact on the commercial success of the organization. Sound risk management practices and a good understanding of what is at stake, on the part of the healthcare risk management team will go a long way in helping the organization reduce risks and improve patient safety to avoid losses and liabilities.